Thursday, December 31, 2009


I don't have enough energy to recap an entire decade, or even a year, actually (despite just waking up from a 3-hour nap). We're going over to our friends' house tonight to ring in the New Year - it's gotten to be a bit of a tradition (although last year we were in Cali) and I'm very big on tradition. I'm just happy that we're spending the New Year together.

All I will say about the next year is that all of our dreams - TD's and mine - will come true.

2010 is our year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bon MLA...

I'm saying Happy Holidays to everyone, but I'm especially saying GOOD LUCK to all the MLA-ers out there who will be interviewing, etc. I've sent the ninjas on your behalf already, they're camping by the Liberty Bell, but you won't see them because they're too quick!

Went to see Avatar the other night and actually loved it despite the crazy Dances With Wolves meets Matrix meets Return of the Jedi meets Lord of the Rings meets Aliens plot and racial politics. For a really interesting (and typically well-written) reading of the movie's (potential) racism, see SEK's post and his declaration that the Jake Sully avatar is actually "Braveheart Smurf"...


Friday, December 11, 2009

Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Almonds

This is for Sisyphus - I can rattle this off from memory because it's the easiest frickin' recipe EVER! And it's insanely quick...I got a bunch of cheap pint jars at a crafts store (99 cents each), threw 2 cups of these almonds in and tied a ribbon around it - Insta-gift!

Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Almonds

4 cups raw, un-messed with almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees; line a jellyroll pan or big cookie sheet with parchment paper (you could also grease the pan lightly - but parchment paper rocks and it's worth getting a roll, I think).

2) Lightly beat the egg white; add the vanilla and beat until frothy, but not stiff (you can do this with a fork in 30 seconds).

3) Add all the almonds and mix them in the egg white until they're coated (1 egg white does actually coat 4 cups of almonds!)

4) Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together; add them to the coated almonds and mix until they're coated.

5) Spread the almonds evenly in the pan.

6) Cook for 1 hour, stirring a bit at 20 minute intervals (just to make sure they bake evenly and they don't all stick together).

7) Let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Bits of End-of-the-semester Fluff

Things Done in the Past Week:

1) Article revised and resubmitted
2) short-term grant application written for major archive
3) 5 letters of rec written
4) 4 batches of cinnamon-sugar roasted almonds made
5) 7 jars of hot fudge sauce made
6) 16 mini pound cakes baked (8 at a time)
7) Much edible holiday cheer spread around the department

Things To Do By Next Wednesday and Beyond:

1) Grade 27 undergrad revisions
2) "Look over" and assign grades to 12 grad essays
3) Put together syllabi for next semester (previous syllabi just need tweaking)
4) Read and comment on Ph.D. dissertation by late January
5) Sleep

"Touch Wood" Nota Bene:

TD had his visit/interview with Think-Tank on Monday and it went very well - he was exhausted by the end of the day, but he felt positive. They said they will have a decision by early January (the holidays delay official things a bit).


Monday, November 30, 2009


Dream Academy has given me 3 MORE YEARS! Yeah baby! tenure....get back to work...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not Thankful...but kinda...

I'm so incredibly sick. I'm morally certain I have a sinus infection. It was a horrible cold last week that went away a little bit over the weekend (fortunately, I could attend and give a reading at the last of our Amazing Wedding Season weddings - that's all five finished!) - but then it reared its ugly head again over the last few days that I've been in Dutchmanlandia. I no longer have health insurance in this country (although I do have dental through TD's plan - got my crown replaced yesterday) - so we're going to go to a walk-in clinic and just pay out of pocket unless they'll take my health insurance for some reason. All I need is some Amoxicillin - that will set me to rights. A nice week-long course of Amoxicillin.'s amazing how much I'd pay right now for some antibiotics - I fly home on Saturday and I can't fathom how much pain I'd be in if I had to fly feeling like I do right now.

So, I'm decidedly NOT thankful for feeling like hammered shit and for not getting ANY of the grading done that I'd planned this week (I've been sleeping a lot).

But, I'm thankful that we make enough money that I can go pay out of pocket for medical care and antibiotics if I absolutely have to - many people can't, and that's a sad fact. Opponents to Health Insurance reform can suck it.

More Fluff:

We will still have Thanksgiving dinner tonight - just the two of us. The menu is as follows:

1) Spiral-cut honey ham (I'm SO happy it's not turkey - I smell a tradition brewing)
2) Mashed potatoes (what else?)
3) Pan-sauteed brussel sprouts with caramelized shallots, bacon, and blue cheese (TD loves brussel sprouts, so I gave in rather than make the same green bean casserole).
4) Apple crumble pie
5) antibiotics and iced tea (for me), wine (for TD)

Tomorrow, we go to IKEA to get a Poang chair for TD.

Gobble, (*sniff!*), Gobble....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This makes my head hurt...

I'm only half way through a stack of 30 essays and I already have two cases of egregious, take it straight off the internet and change a few words plagiarism. And they will fail the class for this. What pisses me off the most is that it takes me an hour to determine that there's plagiarism and then find it online so I have the ammo I need when I confront them.

Sigh. Tired sigh.

Why do they do this?? It's SO obvious...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Random Bits of Sunday Fluff


I've had a fairly productive weekend, but there's still so. much. more. to. do.

Things I Have Done This Weekend:
- 3 loads of laundry
- made and ate dinner (burrito and steamed veggies)
- finished narratives for 3rd-year review
- made the majority of revisions to an article (do I have the stamina to do the last teensy few tonight?)
- renewed ALL my academic society memberships (this was satisfying)
- vacuumed the living room (including couch cushions - woo-hoo!)

Things I Have Left To Do (not necessarily tonight):
- finish the last bits of article revisions - the sooner they're done, the sooner I can send them back!
- fold laundry
- read for my grad class this week
- GRADE. Oh dear god, I have to GRADE 30 papers! Can I do this by Thursday? If I grade 10 a day. I can do that....shit.

I'm heading for the tub.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I just had an hour-long hot stone massage.....

(*begins drooling again....*)

'nuff said....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Huh?

At what point did adult female costumes all become "Sexy [insert character here]"? You can't buy a pirate costume, it has to be a sexy pirate costume. You can't be a Devil, it must be the Sultry Slutty Devil. You can't even find a damn regular elf outfit for a woman without it being a "Ho-Ho-Whorish-Elf"! I can appreciate that there are some costumes that are sexy by nature - take a French maid outfit. Okay - garters and plunging neckline are prerequisites there. But (and now I'm sounding like your Grandma Betsy) why do many women have to dress up as sluts first and then the character du jour a distant (and incidental) second? A ghost with a push-up bra? What the hell?!

Thus ends this year's Halloween rant...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Good news yesterday....and....zzzzzzz.....

Okay. In order to function over the last 3-4 days, I've needed at least 10 hours sleep. So, I go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 8:30. I'm *exhausted*! This is not the usual medieval woman I'm used to being. I used to stay up until 2am working and getting my shit done. Now, I'm in bed sawing logs at early-bird special time (for me anyway)!

My good news is that I heard from the journal I sent my most recent peely-offy article too and they have accepted it and said very nice things - the reader wants me to make some really minor changes and the editor wants me to tweak the intro a bit. I'm most happy about the fact that this piece was really my book project in miniature - it was a few pages of my general argument and then basically my second chapter (pared down a bit). If the reader didn't like this article - if they thought it wasn't plausible - then there's a good chance that a reader wouldn't like my book manuscript. But, best of all, the reader said that my methodology could be extended to read other texts in the same genre as this one in interesting and new ways. Woo-hoo! I happen to have done that in several other chapters! Do you want to be the reader for my book manuscript, too?

So. I'm not going to prep for class tonight. I'm not going to write the narratives for my reappointment dossier (it's not due for a few weeks anyway). I'm not going to grade any more papers. I'm going to go to bed with my bad-ass grandma self and bang on the walls with my cane when the freelance gnomes get a little too crazy in that mosh pit they've set up in the kitchen...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crazy Student Tailz

I am so irritated at my students today. They were such complete slackers!

It reminded me a little bit of some student antics about a year ago - I happened to see this student again today and I was reminded of it.

We were reading and discussing John Donne's Holy Sonnets that day (so awesome and brilliant!) and I got a phone call from this student saying that s/he needed to talk to me about why s/he wouldn't be in class. S/he said, kind of breathily,

Student: "Uuuuum....I won't be in class to discuss those poems today because....uuuuuum....I'm a Christian and, uuuum, these poems offend me as a Christian (pronounced "Chrissss-chin?" with the slight rise in tone at the end)...."

MW: "That's great. So was Donne. It'll still count off of your attendance grade."

Student: "Uuuuum....but I'm a Christian and it offends my personal beliefs to read these poems about God battering them and stuff."

MW: (?!?!) "Well, okay. But you do know that reading and discussing the poems in no way necessitates your subscribing to their particular theology, right? And how is it that none of the other texts we've read this semester have posed a problem?"

*Paging Dr. Summoner anyone?*

Student: "Yeah. But that was all Catholic and medieval and stuff. But I'm a Christian and this offends me."

MW: "I'm sure that most Catholics (modern and medieval) would be offended by the suggestion that they're not Christian. Nevertheless, it's on the syllabus and class attendance is required, so this will count as an absence."

Student: "But that's penalizing me for my religious beliefs!"

MW: "Indeed, I'm not. Religious beliefs are not an acknowledged illness or family emergency and, thus, I'm not excusing it. You're making the choice to stay out of class and, if it is because of fervently held religious beliefs, then you need to be able to accept the consequences of your actions. In this case, the consequences are pretty mild. The Lollards didn't have it so easy, as you might remember."

Student: "Buuuuuut....."

MW: "Might your offense coincide with the fact that it's right before Spring Break and you already have 4 absences in this class?"

Student: "That offends me..."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Has it been this long?

Okay, WTF? Have I been in a time warp? Kidnapped by aliens? Where have I been? I'm asking you that like you know...

I'm breaking the silence! I've been tuning in to the blogs of others but haven't been in the mood to blog myself. But, I returned from Medieval Pop's wedding yesterday (indeed, they got married) and so I thought I'd dive back in before embarking upon yet another crazy week.

This will take bullet form:

1) The best news first: TD has been asked to come out for a visit and talk at Research Think-Tank (hereafter known as the Tank)!!! I'm so happy. It's been hard to try to get a time set for the visit to take place, but it will happen in early December. It's not (or at least it doesn't seem to be) because they're having other candidates out - in fact, TD posed many different Mondays over the next month and a half and for various reasons (all of which they were forthcoming about) it couldn't happen. Their research group is spread over 3 different states and during most of the other times TD could come (i.e., when there wasn't a wedding to go to!), various members of the group were traveling or they had some company-wide event to attend. So, he'll go out then and we hope they'll like him and hire him!

2) This news is particularly good because neither one of us is going on the academic job market this year - there aren't ANY jobs in our dismal lists that coincide geographically even a little. So, the Job Market Gnomes are sitting around and watching daytime TV, eating pop tarts, and generally growing squishy around the edges. My band of ninja warriors are considering subcontracting out for a while until I have a secret mission to send them on - if anyone knows of a small dictatorship that needs toppling in the next few months, their rates are reasonable.

3) I just recently went on a lovely trip to give a talk at a friend's college - it's so nice to be an invited speaker! I was on their college website as an event! The talk went well and the people and students were delightful.

4) I (blessedly?) still haven't heard about my manuscript or the article I sent out. I pray for the reprieve to continue through the end of the year. But now I'm starting to think that I should begin to consider my second project, whatever that may be. I know that many people already have their second major project in mind - but I don't. Jesus, how do I start to think of one? I feel like it took me so long to think of the first one! Maybe I should just play it a little cool for the next year and write a few articles? And work on getting this most recent book ms published, of course.

5) My birthday was last week - MW is now 35. I spent my birthday in an airport in transit from my talk visit. But tonight friends are taking me out to tacos and this weekend I got to see TD, so it has been the week-long birthday celebration.

6) We might have more great news soon....hmmmmm....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Settling In...

Yawn. Up at 6 this morning. I'm allergic to mornings this early. It has been a lovely weekend though; it's the first one in forever that I'm not traveling, stressing over the manuscript, or had visitors. After returning from a marathon stint in The Real Dutchmanlandia (only 2 1/2 days - which was stupid), Medieval Mom came to visit for a full week 2 days later. In the middle of the semester. And I had to peel off an article from the book and have it done right smack dab in the middle of her visit. Ugh.

The trip to TRD (see above) was wonderful, just very quick. We went for a weekend wedding of one of TD's best friends. Left Thursday night and flew overnight arriving in TRD mid-morning Friday, colossally jet-lagged and barely coherent (I can't sleep on planes). On Saturday was the wedding. We left our hotel at noon and did not return until 3am Sunday morning. Slept a little and then we were up on Sunday to visit his mom and brother; that evening was dinner with his dad. Back to the hotel at 10-ish to pack and try to get some sleep before we had to wake up at 4am to get our flight. Well, I was so high strung that I couldn't sleep at all, so I didn't. We were on the plane at 8am the next morning but had to sit there for 2 hours while something was repaired; finally went aloft for our 7 1/2 hour flight back to hub airport where TD and I had to part again to go back to our respective countries (sadness). And, b/c we were 2 hours late getting in, I had to run to catch my connection and we barely had time to say goodbye (more sadness). That was 2 weeks ago and we're traveling so much this month that I won't get to see him for another 2 weeks.

Medieval Mom's visit was ill-timed. She constantly talks - I mean all the time. A running commentary on life that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. And then I felt guilty for not entertaining her more. But I had to write an article. And prep for and teach a graduate class.

Anyway, it's been a helluva tough couple of weeks (hence the bloggy silence), but I'm finally settling into my life. I'm making an overnight trip next week to a colleague's school to give an invited lecture, but that will be an easy jaunt. Then the next week we go to another wedding...

Sorry to vent and whine! I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Egg's Away!!!!

It is done, complete, finis, cooked, printed, boxed, and ready to be shipped across the Pond tomorrow! I have been petting the Egg in preparation for its journey; giving it all kinds of good vibes; willing it to be compelling and clear.

Today, I finished it and then hesitated a moment. "One more read-through?", I thought. Then I suddenly got nauseated at the thought of looking through it one more time, so I made the chapters into pdfs and loaded them up to Kinko's. That's how you know it's ready to send off!

I went to get a celebratory milkshake and headed off to Kinko's to pick up the manuscript. When he gave it to me, I took it out of the box and held it up in front of me (just like Excaliber) and said, "this is my book!" - and the little old lady behind me actually clapped. It was very sweet. The Kinko's guy just sighed dramatically and shuffled off.

Now, it's home to eat leftover pork fried rice...

Updated to Add: It was a "Banilla" Milkshake from Steak 'n Shake - side by side vanilla and banana...yummmmm.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Random Bits of "So Close"...and NEWS!

Okay - the Egg is almost done. And I do mean almost...but, in honor of Sisyphus, who needs something to read, even if it's a boring old random To Do List, here's what's left on the Egg and the State of the Medieval Woman Union:

Egg To Do:
1) Look at my notes on a couple of last critics to insert paragraph into "Woefully Bad But At Least In Existence" Conclusion.

2) Look at last romance text to beef up section in "Woefully Bad But At Least In Existence" Conclusion.

3) Find certain page number ranges for a couple of articles in the bibliography.

4) Do one more pass through of the footnotes in the MS.

5) Quickly proofread and revise "Woefully Bad But At Least In Existence" Conclusion. How much better will it get? Not much. But at least it's done. Did anyone else's Conclusion kind of suck? It's not badly written, it's just uninspired...

6) Make chapters into pdfs and upload them to Kinkos to have them printed out.

7) Write cover letter to editor.

8) Send the f*cker out! BY MONDAY! Woo-hoo!

Random Bits of Early Semester Fluffage:
1) Classes going well - haven't really been able to think about them as much as I'd like with Egg still hanging over my head. Grad class is exhausting.

2) TD and I will meet up in a Hub Airport this Thursday evening and fly to the Real Dutchmanlandia for a weekend wedding. We'll be back on Monday. I hope to grade response papers on the plane.

3) I don't like taking my temperature every morning and peeing on sticks. It's tedious.

4) I'm going to give an invited talk at a grad school friend's school in October. She said they can pay airfare, hotel, and a modest stipend. What college out there has money for this right now? Not that I'm complaining...

5) [TYPED WHILE TOUCHING AS MUCH WOOD AS I CAN; IN FACT, I SHUDDER TO EVEN TYPE IT] TD has a good lead on a job here, not in academia but in a research think-tank (about an hour away). He met with a dude in one of their many research groups who has ties with the Dream Academy. He told TD that they were looking for someone with TD's specific skill set and research focus and said to let him know when TD applied so he could track his application. Several days after the very nice meeting, TD gets an email from the leader of this research group (who's stationed in another state, but some of them are); she had spoken with the first dude TD met and wanted to set up a time for a phone conversation. This happened Monday and they talked for an hour about "possibilities at [Insert name of company here]." She said that the next step is for TD to send them a sample of his work and she would look at it and circulate it among the rest of the group. He should also fill out the company's general application form online. Then, they'll decide if they want to invite him out for a visit where he would give a talk, etc. and they'd basically see if he was crazy or cool and someone they'd like to work with (the last part is my interpolation). Because the company is so massive (largely gov't contracts) and employs so many different specialists in various fields for numerous research groups, it seems like TD will just need to be liked and desired by the members of this particular group (and perhaps some closely related groups), as they are the folks he'll be working with.

But, there you have it - all the info I have. I'm trying desperately not to speculate on his chances, what it would mean to us if it succeeded, etc. This is veeeeery hard for me because, after all, my full name is:
Medieval-"Overspeculates about Jobs"-"Eats 2 Twinkies A Day"-"Dances with Job Market Gnomes"-Woman
Seriously, it's on my birth certificate.

So, with that I give you what's happenin' around here - I'm off to Chick-Fil-A and then to my office to do some work. Tonight, I'm going with my friend J to Chili's and to see the new Kate Beckinsale flick. Can you see an eating pattern emerging? Wait, was it ever submerged???

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Oddest Request

The 59-year-old gynecologist of a former student of mine recently emailed me and wants me to be his tutor in Anglo-Saxon.


I'm not sure how I feel about my name and profession coming up during...that kind of interaction. How uncomfortable...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Beach Letdown


We snuck away to the beach for one last hurrah before TD heads back to Not-Quite-Dutchmanlandia on Saturday. Needless to say, this has me very upset (the departure, not the beach). We've had a lovely 4 months of living like an average married couple...together! And I always get highly maudlin when it's time to give that up. But it's the same old tune coming from me...

Almost the second we got back, I was sitting on the couch and Furball #2 attempted to hoist her ancient girth up onto the back of the sofa and she slipped. The next thing I know, she's yelping and flopping around trying to walk - her back right leg wasn't working properly! So, I freaked and took her into the Emergency Vet Clinic. 5 long hours and $346 later, we find out that - thank god - the leg isn't broken and that she probably has some kind of soft tissue damage. It's likely just a bad sprain. So, we get *expensive* meds to give her to manage the pain and bundle her home. She's favoring it quite a bit - limping around the house...but she's okay. She probably has some early arthritis - the vet kept calling her an "Old Girl", which irritated me. She's only 11! That's advanced middle age!

Sitting in the Emergency clinic was no fun. Being in a mixed-species space reminds me that dogs are most often favored by vets. Not that I don't love me some dogs! But cats tend to be second class citizens in a mixed-practice in my opinion.

But, that odyssey completed I'm now back and ready to teach this week. Well, actually, I'm not ready to teach - and I haven't finished revisions on my last chapter yet. So, that's what I'll be doing today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When do I shove it out of the nest??

Hey, folks. My timer on this Egg of a manuscript is almost up. I'm sending it out (supposedly come hell or high water) by Sept. 16. I've only got one more chapter to make small revisions on; then revise my Intro (again, not much to do); oh, and I need to write some semblance of a conclusion.

But *OH!* the wringing of hands! The gnashing of teeth! Just when I'm coming to the end, I'm balking!

So, I need to pose a question to the interwebs (and Notorious, Squadrato, Dr. Cleveland, Heu Mihi, Dr. Virago, and all others who have submitted book manuscripts and even had them published, this is a shout out to ya'll in particular!): at what point is it *ready* to send out?

Now, this might seem like a completely ridiculous question - how the hell do you guys know when my stuff's cooked enough? However, something tells me that at the heart of that subjective query is a seed of objectivity. This is because I think we all tinker with our work and resist sending it out "too early" - for some, that threshold is farther away, for some it's much closer. But it's there. I'm familiar with the "okay to send out" threshold with articles, but I'm a book manuscript virgin and I'm nervous. This means more to me, there's more at stake.

I could spend another 3-6 months polishing this sucker, making all the transitions as smooth as glass, clearing up every possible awkward phrase and point, having countless friends and colleagues read drafts. But I'm not sure it would be fundamentally a better manuscript. It would be spit-shined to the gills, but not substantively better, I think. I feel like, as it stands now, it's clear, well written (I'm sure that some sections are better written than others), and it's an interesting critical intervention. It's spellchecked and revised - there are no unconnected fragments of ideas or random "insert discussion of X here" left floating around. I feel like it's pretty solid, if a little squishy around the edges in places. But is this how all first submissions are? Or are they all as absolutely perfect as they can get?

Given my total intellectual stasis at the moment, I wanted to ask what you thought about when a manuscript is ready to be sent to a publisher. Any and all thoughts are appreciated. I'm sending this to a publisher who's already expressed a lot of interest and will, I think, send it to a sympathetic reader - i.e., someone interested in finding out how it can be an even better book rather than looking for reasons to dump it. And it's only going to one reader to start.

Help me, Obi Wan...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Random Bits of Late Summer Fluff

I'm finishing a draft of my Intro today, so I'm not up for a substantive post (do I even do that anymore?) - but I want to blog more, a Fluff List seems appropriate.

1) Within the last 2 weeks, TD and I and friends went to see a Def Leppard concert (I ain't sayin' where) - it was AWESOME! But I felt my age - not just because of those around me (although that was eye-opening as well) - but because of my knees. I can't stand for a 3-hour heavy metal concert anymore (including opening acts, which also rocked)! So, during some of my less favorite songs or power ballads, MW had to sit down. The shame....

2) Also, last weekend, we went to our best friends' blessing - it was amazing - we had so much fun the whole weekend! I cried a bunch (tears o' joy) and ate and drank a ton. I got to see Flavia and her gentleman friend and also got to see Dr. Cleveland and his significant other. So, many new friends!

3) I stopped taking my A*mbien 3 nights ago (damn detox) - this is the first time I've slept without chemical aids of some sort for about 4-5 years. I have bad insomnia and I'm a very light sleeper. It's been...okay. I've slept - not much - but I've slept. However, I've also discovered the full extent of TD's snoring. We're gonna have to do something about that.

4) I've been asked to submit an article to a journal I've always wanted to be published in! It would be part of my book project (from which I've only yet taken one article) - but I'm excited!

5) I've recently discovered Amy Butler fabrics - cool! I can't sew at all (I can re-attach a button...) BUT, there are people on Etsy (to which I'm now truly addicted) who can sew things for me - it's like having craft gnomes...

6) Speaking of gnomeage, I've sent the job market gnomes off to summer training camp. They were hoping for a more exotic locale, but all I could afford was Pensacola. They have a full schedule while they're there: 1) shuffleboard, 2) job letter workshops, 3) tai chi, 4) photocopier repair classes (ours is always breaking down), and finally, 5) intelligence gathering seminars. The gnomes need to have all the information before anyone else has it if they are going to deploy my band of ninja warriors at all effectively during this particularly tough job market season.

The ninjas are always prepared, therefore they need no training camp. So, they're in the kitchen making potato salad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A giftie from between the writing cushions...

So, I'm typing away at my Intro (*type, type, chip, chip, type, type...*)

And I'm wondering why the word count is still so low ('cause I look at shit like that all the time)

Then, I decide to see if the word count thingy on Word is showing the count including footnotes,'s not!

Sproing! My document just gained 10 pounds! (not unlike the food-baby I seem to be carrying at the moment - thanks to the Doritos and PB&J...and the cookies, and the bowl of leftover beef stew)

I like my Intros curvy...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on academic intros

I have a question I thought I'd ask - what do you think makes a good academic introduction? Obviously clarity, ability to convey what the book is about, etc., but I'm wondering what intros any of you thought particularly worked well. Short and sweet? A little meatier? To anecdote or not to anecdote? I've been reading around a lot in intros of books I particularly like (not necessarily in my topic, but just well-written) and I've begun to formulate a sense of what I like in an intro. And given the fact that most people will just be reading the intro to my book (or glancing through it to see if what I'm saying will be helpful to them) and maybe a chapter or two I've written on a text that interests them, I think this is a critical, though woefully unsung, part of the project. It also might be the section that the readers end up giving me the most help on...

For example, I tend to be a fan of the short anecdote or illustrative example at the beginning of books. I've reviewed books - one in particular - that drew the reader in with a very salient, interesting reading of a specific historical example/phenomenon and then opened it up from there. I found this to be very effective. I'm thinking of beginning with two textual examples from completely unrelated sources (and centuries for that matter) because they illustrate different facets of my argument - juxtaposing them seems to do an interesting kind of work and I think it will provide a nice entree into the book proper. What are your thoughts on this?

By the way, somehow I've ended up with two pristine copies of Helen Cooper's "The English Romance in Time" (Oxford UP 2004) - if anyone wants it, I'm happy to give you my extra copy! Just shoot me an email...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Allow me to introduce myself...

Okay. That's a cheesy opener - but that's what I'm doing. Writing my Introduction. This is a challenging sub-genre of academic writing - the book introduction. I have a draft from way back when, but it's not that compelling. So, I'm re-reading notes, reading other intros to extract interesting structures, etc. But I'm resisting the notion that I need to read everything ever written about my subject and reference it in my intro. So, once in a while I scream out - "Stay away from the lit review!" in the same voice that wee little Tangina Barrons screamed at a disembodied Carol Anne Freeling: "Stay away from the light!"

And now I've lost the will to discuss my Introduction or my writing process at the moment. See how easy it is to distract me? Okay, so we'll close this stimulating post with a few Random Bits of Fluff:

1) I don't like recycled toilet paper. I'm trying to but I'm not liking it. I don't want to destroy baby forests, but I'm really not liking it and I remain unconvinced that it'll just take "getting used to" as TD says.

2) 3 weeks ago I went off some medication and I've had the most horrible withdrawal symptoms - really really bad. So bad that if I'd known what was in store for me I never would have gone on the medicine (form of SSRI). And after reading some people's stories on the web, I've realized that I've actually gotten lucky with this - my symptoms are waning and I'm feeling close to myself again. For some people it's so bad that they can't take the withdrawal and go back on the meds.

3) TD and I are fleeing to the beach this weekend in a semi-impromptu getaway. Very nice.

4) My grad class for next semester is almost completely planned, including readings scanned and posted on Blackboard.

5) Next week I will go to my best friend's wedding and I need to get some pantyhose.

6) Ohmygodmylifeissoboring.

Signing off...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Burn Out

Oh man, am I feeling it. I've almost completed 3 chapter revisions so far and I'm overdue on this one by 3 days. Curses! I'm having a tough time keeping up this pace, but I need to get it done this summer! Too much other shit must happen in the fall. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to the semester starting when all I'll be doing is teaching and working on an article or two - at least for the blessed downtime before the job market begins again and I get the readers' reports back on the manuscript. But hopefully that will take a while!

Sigh - just wanted to gripe a bit. Back to it...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Well Done, Roddick!

Mary Carillo just said it best: Roddick lost to the number one tennis player of all time, barely. It was such a good match and Roddick has played so well the entire tournament and I just want to do a little shout out to the kid - I hope he comes back and wins it next time...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Today's 4th of July Menu

I'm going to cram in a few hours of frickin' work on this frickin' chapter before we begin making our part of this banquet, but here's what we'll be consuming today - and it's really the essence of what it means to me to be an American and independent and all that jazz...I've noted which ones I'll be making:

- Sangria (MW)
- Watermelon coolers (non-alc. fruit drink)
- Beer
- Sliders on the grill (w/carmelized onions) (MW)
- nitrate-free hotdogs
- shrimp skewers
- tomato and leek pie (MW)
- parmesan spinach dip and chips
- grapes (MW)
- strawberry shortcake

There will be six of us, but with the job market gnomes (who are digging out the tiki torches as we speak) we will be Legion. We may or may not make it to the fireworks...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let's Get Physical

As I meander through this latest chapter (and I do mean meander), I am also starting to think ahead to the fall and what I need to do physically to prepare for the topic of my last post. This means major detoxing, shearing off all unwanted and un-needed additives in my life.

Now, I'm a hoarder. I hoard all kinds of things (much like the dragon in Beowulf...grrr...) - I hoard Cheetos, cake, Coke Zero, pounds, Miller Lite, and medications. I like additives. A lot. But, I'm determined, so I've begun peeling off certain meds (I need to talk to my doctor in mid-August about going off my last one and I'm holding onto my Ambien until I absolutely need to give it up). And I'm also trying to shed some poundage - TD and I watched some WebMD clips that noted the need to be at a healthy body weight becoming "with sprog" and my eyes bugged out instantly until the doctor qualified it with "as close as possible to your ideal body weight" - even a moderate weight loss is beneficial. This seems more manageable given the fact that I'm also trying to finish my book at the moment - I'm in no frame of mind to go completely cold turkey on my little yummy vices at this point.

Toward this moderate goal, however, I'm going to the gym a couple of times a week, I'm eating better (bulking up on the folic acid, with food and supplements), and have recently begun yoga twice a week. Now this is my kind of workout! Why did I never do this before? I can wear lovely flowy clothes and do comfy, contortive (though often delightfully strenuous) things on a cushy mat. I can be barefoot while I exercise! So, I have jumped into this with both (bare) feet - I just purchased this yoga mat set - love the color! I know it's kinda "matchy-matchy"...

Sigh, back to work!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This is actually a word used by Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde to refer to the ambiguities inherent in prognostications culled from the gods - basically, these divine words are open to interpretation.

I use the word here not to refer to anything so deep as, say, the ultimate outcome of the Trojan war (which, as it turns out, is not at all open to interpretation, as much as Criseyde would care to differ), but in reference to our future - mine and TD's. Not about whether we'll have a future - we're strong as can be - but about what comes next for us. I won't recap yet again our odyssey to seek employment near to one another - ya'll know that rap already. That quest continues this year (MLA meet-up anyone?? Sis, I know I'll see you there, lady!) - but we've decided to wrest a bit of control over our lives from the job market this year. We've made some decisions about pursuing medieval babies.

I won't say anything further until it's time - and this is all academic at this point (or actually, we're making it decidedly not academic) - but we've started thinking about our future, what we want, what will happen, and we've made an awesome plan. And so, we're simultaneously seeking to eliminate amphibology (keep waiting for the market to hurl up the perfect situation for us? Hell no!) and also giving in to the amphibology (living together? Knowing what the future will bring career-wise or financially? No way!).

We've just made a choice to embrace the amphibologies of our lives and we're sort of trusting that things will work out...resistance is futile and if you build it, sprog will come...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Egg Update

Ooooo, this is a slippery chapter! It has often wriggled away from me and left me sitting lost and alone in front of the TV. Or lying on my back with a fun book next to me. Or surfing on the IKEA website. It's veeeeery sneaky.

But, I've done okay with this guy so far - the Egg Gnomes (for now, re-tasked Job Market Gnomes) have downgraded the chapter's status from "DEF(MEDWOM)CON-4 = Gaping Crevasse of Doom" to "DEF(MEDWOM)CON-2.5 = Smallish Pit of Periodic Despair with Pinpoint of Light at Far End."

My process with this chapter revision has been feast or famine - I worked the other day for 7 hours - the next day I did zilch (except lie around and moan). Over the past 3 days, I've written 3800 new words for this chapter - I'll cut some out, but it's definitely grown more than it's lost (of course, I could also be talking about my ass at this point)...

However, I discovered something fortuitous tonight. It snuck up on me like finding a ten dollar bill wedged into the couch cushions - I'd already done some revisions on this chapter last year! Wtf? How could I forget that? I have no memory of it, but it must have been me b/c the handwriting's the same. There's still more to do, but--damn--that was a nice find!

So, I have 6 days left on this chapter before my letter-bomb from Deadline Facist arrives in the mail (I must insert proof of revised chapter in order to disarm it and save my neighborhood from incineration). TD is in Dutchmanlandia until next Thursday, so I have all the opportunity in the world to get this sucker done! Then we go visit Medieval Pop for Father's Day.

In frivolous news, I splurged on an hour long massage today - it was soooooo great (Obviously...what massage sucks? That's like saying you had a good orgasm. "Paging Dr. Redundancy"...). But I felt very bourgeois...I will also start going to "gentle yoga" when we get back - I'm trying to find non-pharmaceutical outlets for relaxation - hopefully I can slowly wean myself off my meds by the fall!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Molehill behind me....Gaping Crevasse still to come

[*post written to the dulcet tones of "We Are the World" on 80s*]

First off, the molehill (it seemed bigger before I crossed it): my book manuscript, for better or worse, is completely drafted (still need to write the conclusion and bits of the intro, but you get it - it's completely egg-shaped - the beef is there, folks).

I've kept the first deadline that Writing Guru/Deadline Facist set for me and I'm damn proud of that. And I think this latest chapter is pretty good (ask me tomorrow when I read over it).

Now, to the Gaping Crevasse of Doom that sits before me like a nasty troll calling me a punk-bitch and telling me to bring it on...

[*why do I hate the sound of Bob Dylan's voice?? The MAN CAN'T SING!!!*]

...I have to begin revision of the two earlier chapters. The first one is the one I fear, the one that keeps me up at night longer than my Ambien should allow. Even when the Job Market Gnomes sing lullabies and give me warm milk.

But, to the chapter. It's the one in the book that doesn't quite fit as well as it should - everyone has this, right? Right??? Thought so. I've done some conceptual work on it (talking at TD over a beer - he stared blankly and nodded - he's such a good piece of sounding cardboard...). I think I can work it in pretty well - even highly interestingly. But it will take work, big work, hard work. And I'm afraid of what I'll find on the other side.

At least it's written, though! I can work with written...I've given myself 2 full weeks on this next chapter - no traveling, nothin' - just work.

But Egg is drafted! Yay!

Monday, May 25, 2009

In the pipe

Yep, I'm in the writing pipe at the moment - just cruising along (see wordmeter stage right) - I met with my writing guru/deadline facist and she put me on an ambitious, but do-able writing regimen for this summer. Seriously, she cracks the whip! But I'm going strong and it feels great to have a plan. At this rate, I'll have the book finished, revised, and sent out to the publisher by Sept. 1 - aaaaaaarrrrrrrgh!

My motivation is helped immeasurably by having someone at the other end of this saying, "gimme." Otherwise I might very well drag it into the fall semester. But, I can hand it off in Sept. and then do other things, like write an article and teach a lot of students....

Back to work!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random Bits of Early Summer Fluff

Since coming back from Kalamazoo, I've graded all graduate papers and turned in grades, so I'm free of that. Shockingly, I had no academic integrity issues this semester...

I've just awakened from a 2-hour nap and find that I have the whole summer ahead of me, a summer filled to the rim with work, but at least it will be MY work! So, tomorrow begins the "Odyssey of Completions and Revisions of Egg" - I'm meeting with my writing friend/guru for coffee next week so she can plan my schedule and stalk me if I don't deliver. But for now, here's some ephemera from Medieval Woman HQ:

1) Went to the dentist today for cleaning and to check on a tooth that's been a bit sore and sensitive. Everything looks fine, he says - no decay. But, I've have so many silver fillings from when I was younger (80s vintage) that they won't last forever. Eventually, I can get cracked-tooth syndrome (jeezus!) and they'll have to crown the offending tooth. But for now, he says - have a nice day! Come back if it gets worse. This is cold comfort.

2) I've found an upholsterer (indeed, I had needed one). She's coming by today to pick up the chair that's being redone, but she's also going to take away our sofa seat cushions because they are like fricking pancakes a meager 2 YEARS AFTER PURCHASE!!!!! So, she's going to have them properly restuffed or refoamed or whatever. But, this means that we'll be left with a single chair to sit on in the living room for a week and we'll need to move in one of the office chairs so we can watch Law and Order.

3) Tonight, I must get decked out in my regalia for our department ceremony - we will all look like little, waddling Medicis.

4) TD has been given his own office again in the dept. at Dream Academy - at least through June, so that's lovely! Everyone he saw was very happy to see him back - you people think you can get a Dutchman for free? Nyet! You must hire him or we both walk! So far, I haven't been able to make this threat real, but I'm working on it.

I pretty much got nothin' else....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick K'zoo Update

1) Paper went well - was very happy with turnout!

2) Saw lovely friends - blog and non-blog - and made some new ones (Notorious - so lovely to meet you! And Stephanie T. as well!)

3) Best thing: met with lovely press and she said she was extremely interested in the project and wants me to send the entire manuscript when its' done in a few months. She said she thinks this is "definitely something we'd like to pick up"...


I'm heading back to Detroit in the Cadillac I

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

See you at the 'Zoo!

Okay - we're on for Friday morning - Mugshots in Valley I - 8:00 AM

There will be about 15 of us!

The ninjas will go early to save seats...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Squeeee!....and a query


So, a wonderful publisher has contacted me out o' the blue and asked to set up an appointment at an upcoming conference (3 guesses as to which conference) to discuss my book project (actually, I've heard from 2 presses, which is nice). However, I'm overjoyed b/c this one *particular* press is one of my first choices - they have a series that would be perfect for my specific subject and the editor has expressed enthusiasm for building up the series. But, I don't yet have a proper proposal (this will happen in a couple of months, but I haven't begun officially shopping it around).

Now, I'm sure this is just a 15 minute, "tell me a bit about your project", etc. meeting and I know they'll be meeting with a lot of folks at the conference. But, I know that some of you have experience with this kind of conference/publisher meeting - what are your thoughts? What should I bring (obviously not the manuscript or anything!), but I'm thinking an abbreviated CV, a paragraph or two on the project along with a table of contents. Any other advice? Experiences like this?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm Baaaaaack: A Pollyanna Post

It has been spotty blogging this semester - but I take comfort in the fact that many bloggers are experiencing the same thing. And I read and comment regularly, so you know I'm here. I'll post a final reminder about the K'zoo meet-up early next week...

But, things have been going excellently at Chez Medieval Woman this semester. I don't know why - it's been a lot of work and I've had ups and downs, but I'm enjoying life immensely. I've been spending a lot of time with friends, but also getting my work done. In fact, I wrote 7 pages on my last chapter on Sunday. And I got all my grading done in one day (I was a bowl of mushy goo after that, but it was done...). I'm done with classes, just the obligatory reviews, exams, etc. to go.

All the health problems I was having at the beginning of the semester when we realized that we'd be commuting for another year have come under my control (some chemically aided, but that's okay). My blood pressure is down, I've lost 10 pounds, I'm happy and chipper and sleeping well.

And, best of all, TD arrives tomorrow morning for 4 months! I haven't seen him in a month (what does he look like again?) - damn the price of airline tickets!

In case you were wondering about the Magical Creatures, the job market gnomes are on the lanai sunning themselves. Tomorrow they will begin writing the narratives for my 3rd year review case next fall (I told them that they had to be flexible in their job descriptions or I'd outsource them). And the band of ninja warriors are hanging upside-down tomato plants.

If anyone wants to come by this afternoon, we're having sangria at four!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I want you to hold my hand... we're going steady, okay?

I need your opinion.

If a book manuscript is around 75,000 words (including notes and bibliography but not including index), is that okay?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I luv bananas...

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Medieval woman!

  1. The Vikings believed that the Northern lights were caused by medieval woman as she rode out to collect warriors slain in battle.
  2. Ancient Chinese artists would never paint pictures of medieval woman.
  3. Medieval woman was invented in China in the eleventh century, but was only used for fireworks, never for weapons.
  4. Only one child in twenty will be born on the day predicted by medieval woman.
  5. You share your birthday with medieval woman.
  6. 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the US end up as medieval woman.
  7. Research indicates that medieval woman will be attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas!
  8. If you blow out all the candles on medieval woman with one breath, your wish will come true.
  9. Human beings are the only animals that copulate while facing medieval woman.
  10. Medieval woman can drink over 25 gallons of water at a time.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Whither the apostrophe, kids?

So, in my large classes I don't have them turn in much writing - I simply can't grade all of it and maintain sanity and a research agenda. But, in addition to exams, I have them turn in a couple of specific 1-2 page writing exercises - it's not a formal paper per se, but it is some kind of synthesis and discussion of the material. For the most part they were good in my undergrad class - a lot of them really tried and made the assignment something interesting.

However, there's a disturbing trend that I've noticed over the past couple of years and I want to know if it's spreading: the inability to use apostrophes to make possessives!

This goes way beyond the classic "its/it's" problems and they're not seeming to have problems with conjunctions (which I ask them to avoid using in papers, but I choose my battles and that's not one of them for this semester). What this is is things like: "The Reeves Tale", "the husbands anger at the adultery", etc. They're not under the assumption that there's more than one Reeve or Miller - they just don't conceive of the need to use an apostrophe to make possessives.

Wtf? Is this something they're just not teaching kids anymore? Is this skill slipping through the cracks? What I'm talking about is a systemic problem that plagues not only average but above average students and I've only seen it in the last 2-3 years (even at different schools).

This is my diagnosis: text messaging - J'accuse! What say you?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Final Arrangements - Kalamazoo Blogger Meet-Up

Okay! I've just been released from grading jail at last - we're going to meet up at 8am on Friday, May 8th in "Mug Shots" inside Britton-Hadley Hall (Valley I). I'll be there about 15 minutes early to grab some spaces (it shouldn't be insanely crowded at that time) - maybe Heu Mihi would agree to come early as well to help me wrangle chairs?? (*gives puppy-dog eyes*)

If everyone who's coming could give me a quick comment here to say "YAY", I'll get a count and horde chairs accordingly.

More regular blogging to resume soon...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

K'zoo Blogger Meet-Up: Take Two

All right - it looks like a lot of folks will be there, which is great. We're going to do 8AM on Friday before Heu Mihi and Dame Eleanor and I have to toddle off to give our papers. There seems to be some question about Mug Shots being open that early, etc. - how about the Gatehouse Cafe in Valley III? They open at 8am and if we get there when they open we could get a table easily.

Please let me know your thoughts on this - I'm glad the time proved pretty easy to agree on!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I have a new gray hair...

Three of them, actually. They live right next to each other at my left temple. Together, they comprise a gray "streak," I've decided (which sounds sorta cool).

Because these newcomers are many, are a collective, are legion, I've decided to name them...oh, say...Chaucer.

One is named "Graduate Chaucer," one is named "Undergraduate Chaucer," and one is named "the Grading of Chaucer." Paper Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear. These hairs are a perfect microcosmic representation of my life this semester. Highly intense! I'm loving my classes so much, but they are all-consuming; they give so much but they take even more. It sounds like I'm on the Therapy Channel...

I teach my grad course on Wednesday nights and when I get home I'm too wired and "on" to crawl into bed and fall into the coma I deserve and yet I'm too exhausted to do any real work. This is why I'm blogging my gray hairs. And trying not to notice the look of disgust on my Blog Dashboard's face...
"You don't blog for 11 days and you're blogging...this? Wtf??!! I feel so cheap..."
When I returned tonight and dragged my ass in out of the rain, I found new gifties from the cats (nice weather = shedding = increased furball-age) and began cussing a blue streak while still standing in the front doorway (which garnered a scornful accusing glare from Furball #2 - "ungrateful bitch! It was a gift!!"). And then noticed that my highly religious conservative neighbors were having a late dinner party next door with the window open. Sweet. Bible-thumping eyes bugged out. Bible-thumping noses pressed up against the window screen in disgust.

The only thing left to do with this evening (other than close this rambling blogpost) is to retire to the couch with a Bud Lite and watch Kung-Fu Panda.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kalamazoo Blogger Meet-up

Is it too early??

It's never too early - if we don't plan it now, all our schedules will get filled up! S'okay - I will take point on this (unless someone else has/wants to) so Dr. Virago won't have to do it for the 5th year in a row! ;)

This is just the feeler post:

Who will be there?

Who wants to meet up?

When and where? Suggestions?

Bring it on!

Updated to add:

It's looking like Friday morning, early breakfast/coffee is best - I present at 10am, so maybe 8am? Is this too early/late? People can come and go at will...what is that coffee shop on campus?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Notes from Captivity: Day 5

I feel like an indoor cat.

Yesterday I left the house for the first time in 2 days. I made TD take me out to dinner and to Home Depot.

Why have I not left the house? Because here in Dutchmanlandia it is crazy-cold, nasty, precipitating in bad ways, and I am without a car when TD goes up to campus (he is not on Spring Break). Also, there's nothing to do here; nowhere to go; no one to see but TD (do I sound like a whiny 8 year old yet?).

I have always had a vexed relationship with Dutchmanlandia and, more specifically, the city in which he resides and the university where he teaches. There's never really been a place for me here except in this apartment. So, coming here for a week is great because I get to see TD, but there's not much more going on and that's a little...stultifying. It's not like when we're at Medieval Woman HQ we're clubbing into the wee hours of the morning or anything (except the Job Market Gnomes have now hung a disco ball in the kitchen and, when I left, they were beginning construction on their tiki-bar). But there always seems to be stuff to do, people to see, friends to hang out with. And TD will be able to get his own campus office when he comes for extended stays. It's home, and here is a weigh station. So, I read and took notes on 5 articles yesterday and made some serious headway. The day before I caught up on my HGTV (deelightful).

When TD came home last night, I had my face pressed against the window, eyes bulging, manic look on my face. He said, "you look like Furball #1 when he wants the window open." Yes! I want to gulp in the free air! You can take me to McDonald's! Wendy's! I don't care! We need to get something at Home Depot?? No sweat! I'm you're gal!!!! And as we walked up and down those vast aisles, I beamed at everyone who walked by, chatted up the key-making dude, etc. It was a proper outing.

We have also been to see the much awaited movie, Watchmen. And I thought it sucked canal water. Leave aside the fact that it was sexist, unnecessarily gratuitously violent (this coming from someone whose favorite movie is Predator), the costumes were lame, it was chronologically confusing, not very action-y, and it was an hour too long. The worst part?

Blue schlong.

Not to put too fine a point on it. Dr. Manhattan's blue schlong was all over this movie and it was like it had a frickin' tractor beam! I couldn't look away and not in a good way. Why do we need to see that? And I understand that it's a big thing that they're finally showing male genitalia in movies when they've been showing nude women forever, and this one is pretty main stream, so it's a statement and whatever. But it was big. And blue. Oh, and he had butt implants. Big blue butt implants. Ghastly.

I'm sure that there's just something I'm not getting about how good the movie is - it's been getting great reviews and for those fankids in the know it's supposedly a good representation of the comic, etc. But TD and I looked at each other and went, "Huh?" at the end of the movie. But there were sour gummy peaches and Coke Zero on tap at this theatre, so the night was, overall, a success.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dirty Looks, Snow Days, and Other Bits of Fluff

Oh my god, I've never gotten such dirty looks from my students after an exam! Several of them were seen to either glare at me and roll their eyes or even mumble in response to my "have a good weekend!", "Um, I'll...try..."

But this is what I've come to expect from the new breed of students who blame their professors for the fact that they haven't done the reading or taken notes during the lectures. Quick hint, little dudes: when I talk about the genre of a certain CT and write "romance" on the board and then define it? That's not just to work out my left hand. It's not just so I can feel the intense tactile pleasure of chalk on skin. I'm not Prof. Dickens - I do not get paid by the numbers of words I write!

I have a new word for these students: baby-slackers. They slack, but they're infantile about it. If you're gonna slack, then do it. Own it. Accept that it was your decision to slack and not something forced on you, for instance. Of course, there's the usual cadre of students who ace the exam because they studied and they rock and they're smart (or at least thorough) and they're the reason I still love to teach.

In other news, we had a snow day yesterday (as did so much of the Eastern seaboard - I could be anywhere! Mwahahahahaha!) - but, even better than the fact that I now only have to teach once this week before jetting off to sunny, tropical Dutchmanlandia for Spring Break on Friday: TD was trapped here for an extra day this weekend! So, yesterday we went to the diner for breakfast, went to some friends' house to hang for a little while, graded, ate leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and went to see a movie. Joy.

I've accepted the fact that my life is largely boring at the moment and highly unblogable. "Pulling at the plow" is not a fun topic for a blogpost, but that's what I'm doing. Oh, I had an article rejected, but in a very nice way, so I'm sending it out again with no muss, no fuss. I'm convinced that this was because the day before I had not recommended another article for publication for another journal - bad karma! Oh well, that's wackademia...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Hm, it looks like I'm doing the once a week blog thing - I am reading all of yours, though, I promise! On Thursday of this past week I had a migraine so bad that I was sick as a dog all day - couldn't keep anything down and felt absolutely like death warmed over. But, I've rallied from that (I only get one like that a year or so and it was stress induced - I had locked my jaw while asleep) and now I'm up at the office getting stuff DONE! I have my club sandwich and diet coke nearby. My music's on, I'm ready to go.

Other tidbits:

1) I have recently discovered a new gadget: the sweater shaver. This is awesome! I shaved two of my sweaters that looked like they needed to be forcibly shoved into rehab they had so many pills. Now, they're clean and sober.

2) Furball #1 had his last thyroid check yesterday (to test the success of his nuclear experience) and he has a perfectly clean bill of health - he's gained almost a pound and his thyroid level is even a bit low (but not into hypothyroid levels), so it looks like the procedure was a success! And his early heart condition has even cleared up b/c his thyroid is no longer wonky.

3) It must be almost spring because Miss P, the blind lady next door, has begun to surreptitiously feel my lawn again. Apparently the wild chives in our yard have sprung up recently b/c I hear these little trimming noises once in a while (*clip! clip! clip!*) - it's like being forced to live in a grooming salon.

I got nothin' else...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day and Other Bits of Fluff

The stress level at Medieval Woman HQ has been off the charts. So much so that my blood pressure has spiked into "Immediate Stroke" territory. My doctor actually peered at me to see if I was still breathing and asked: "Are you a little jumpy lately?"

"Yes," I replied with eyes bulging.

So, I'm on a host of new meds to help reduce anxiety and bring the blood pressure down into life-sustaining levels. One thing about me - I wear all my emotions on my sleeve. Literally. My body can't hide anything. I would be the worst spy on earth - the first one discovered and dispatched by the enemy. TD was his usual wonderful self and got me a block of 5 massages so I'm going every week for over a month to have her work out the knots in my neck and shoulders (where my legion of stress fiends reside). And I'm eating better.

Why so stressed, you ask?


The other university that had offered TD the job and was pushing us to make a decision in 20 minutes renegged. Not for funding reasons but because they suck and they got their panties in a wad when we wouldn't capitulate to their ridiculous timeline. (My ninjas have put them in their "black book" of universities who will receive weapons-grade anthrax in their Arbor Day cards this year). We put them off because we were honestly thinking something would work out at the Dream Academy. It was a calculated risk and it backfired, but them's the breaks. I don't regret making that choice and I'm not unhappy about our decision to put them off. However, this does mean that my husband continues to work at a place that will never employ me and that we have to do all of this again next year.

Hence the stress. Put off plans to live together, save money together, have baby together, etc. for god knows how long.

This week has also been the week from hell and it's finally over - woo-hoo! Job candidates have been through and it's now over. I had some extra university work to do this week and it's now over. So, last night I languished at home, cleaned, made chicken burritos, and generally felt great. Today is lunch with friend and then dinner with more friends. Tomorrow is work. Monday is massage morning and margarita night.

I'm looking forward to the summer (who isn't?) because it's going to be very chill. TD will be here for 4 months and I've just had to drop out of a summer conference abroad because I can't afford it - travel funding here is very wonky because of budget issues and I can't afford to pay anything out of pocket this year (not with $3300 in taxes to pay). But, this means that we will:

1) Work lots - I'll finish my book manuscript
2) Go camping frequently
3) Grill many burgers
4) Perhaps go to the beach with J&A

No big trips, no big conferences, no big shakes. Just work and relax.

Ahhhhh....I can feel my blood pressure going down already....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

God won't help you either

What follows is an email conversation earlier this semester between Prof. Medieval Woman and Desperate Student (slightly edited):

DS: "Prof. MW, I see that your class is full - is there any way at all you could overload me into the class? I only need this class to graduate and I will be an asset to your class, I promise. This is the only class that fits my full-time work schedule."

Prof. MW: (*looking through 4-5 of these kinds of emails*) "Hi, DS. Sorry, I'm not able to overload into this class at the moment. But, enrollment is fluid early in the semester, so keep checking the online enrollment thingy and if you see a space, grab it!"

DS: (*next day*) "Has anyone dropped the class? Should I come to class on Monday in case anyone isn't there?"

Prof. MW: (*typing with Cheetos fingerprints on the keyboard*) "Not yet, as the online registration to which we all have access indicates to me as of 5 minutes ago. If someone isn't in class on Monday, they haven't necessarily dropped the course, so I advise continuing to monitor the registration online. I myself do not keep a waiting list because of that system. There are already 4-5 students who want into the class and if I let one overload in, I will feel obligated to let all of them in."

DS: "But I really need this class! I appreciate your integrity; it's such a big part of our characters. You seem like such a wonderful educator. I'll be waiting to hear from you."

Prof. MW: (*now banging head against the keyboard in frustration. Cheetos fingerprints now transferred to forehead. Seeing stars. Cheeto-colored stars...*) "Thank you. Unfortunately it really doesn't seem like anyone is dropping the course. My suggestion would be to try to find another course that fits your schedule. Best of luck this semester."

DS: "If you can find it in your heart of hearts to let me in, I would be eternally grateful. Until you do, I'll keep checking back with you and just trust God to find a way."

Prof. MW: "God isn't getting you into this class either. Expect the restraining order to arrive by 5pm today."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A very serious question...

Would you leave your tenure-track position to be with your spouse/partner? Say your partner would always be making twice again as much as you would. After trying to be together for a number of years, would you finally just leave your position and try to adjunct where they are?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thank You!

Belle was her usual lovely self and gave me an Inspiration Award, despite all my bitchin' lately! Thank you so much!

The obligations are those that extend the compliment, which I am delighted to do.

* Please put the logo of the award (above) on your blog if you can make it work with your format.
* Link to the person from whom you received the award.
* Nominate 7 or more blogs.
* Put the links of those blogs on your blog.
* Leave a message on their blogs to tell them.

Hopefully none of you have been nominated yet, but here goes!

heu mihi - who is a wonderful blogger and grad school friend!
Flavia - wearer of awesome shoes, writer of great blog (which got me into blogging), and dispenser of bad-ass-ittude.
Dr. Virago - who crept with me on Welsh battlements and put a new word in my vocabulary: murder-hole.
What Now? - whose transition through many professional and life changes inspires me to keep going and be with the one you love (so you can truly love the one you're with).
Highly Magnified, Thoroughly Educated - whose future transitions from academia into ??? I continue to follow with excitement.
Contemporary Troubador - fellow-commuter and wonderful photographer, my bloggy doppelganger with husband of Lowlands heritage.
Pantagruelle - wonderful French Canadian blogger of whom I hope to read and see more!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Craptastic Day

(*grumble, grumble, grumble..*)

No longer up for a job I was hoping for....

Leverage power reduced....

(*grumble, fume...*)

Just found out that I need to file my taxes "married filing separately" which basically means that my deduction is only slightly greater than the 4 crumbs remaining from my grilled cheese sandwich from lunch....


(*grumble, sniff*)

I'm going to have to pay over $3K in taxes this year because of this! TD has no US income and I can't get the married tax deduction without filing jointly and declaring his worldwide income. I called H&R Block and the lady said, "yeah, that's, like, the worst status to file as. You get basically no deduction".

Apparently the government didn't think I was quite aware of how crappy it is not to live with one's spouse. So, they're punishing us further.


Got it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Bits of New Year's Fluff

Wow, it's been a while since I've blogged! We had a wonderful time in Napa and then back to San Francisco for a few days (Alcatraz is fun!). By the time we got home last week I was going stir crazy from living out of a suitcase for 2 weeks. And then the very next day, TD left to go away to Dutchmanlandia, so I sank into a slight depression for a few days realizing that our lovely summer and fall of cohabitation had come to an end.

The job dance continues - one of TD's jobs really wants him and they're looking into a t-t job for me. B/c of this fast-moving opportunity, I've gone to my Chair and Dean and told them the situation. I even wrote up a 3-page memo outlining what they lose if I leave and what they gain by hiring TD. I feel like I gave them good ammo and I really hope something can be worked out. But, I'm actually going to try to remain on an even keel this job season and not count my eggs before they're in the pudding, and so, I won't blog about each little change, but will let you know the outcome eventually.

School starts next Wednesday and I'm sort of prepared - it's all CTs all the time, so it will be fun. Having a hard time getting into work-mode, however.

One of my former colleagues (he's no longer at Dream Academy but was still in town) died suddenly a week or so ago. A very aggressive and swift-moving illness and he was found in his apartment after he'd been sick only a couple days. I didn't know him well, but some friends of mine in the department did and it's very upsetting all the same.

We received 3 cases of wine yesterday from our frolicking in the wine country. I've had to order a wine rack just so we can store it all. But it wasn't nearly as fun opening up the boxes without TD here...

More later!